Avnet, Inc. history, profile and history video

     Avnet, Inc. engages in the distribution and sale of electronic components, enterprise computers, storage products, information technology services, and embedded subsystems. It operates through the Electronics Marketing and Technology Solutions segments. The Electronics Marketing segment markets and sells semiconductors and interconnect; passive and electromechanical devices; and embedded products. The Technology Solutions segment offers servers, data storage, software, and product implementation software and solutions. The company was founded by Charles Avnet in 1921 and is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, United States.


    In 1921, Charles Avnet, a 33 year old Russian immigrant, began buying surplus radio parts and selling them to the public on the Radio Rows of United States port cities. In the mid-1920s, when factory-made radios began to replace radio parts, Avnet adjusted its distribution pipeline and began selling parts to manufacturers and dealers. During the Great Depression, Avnet shifted the focus from retailing to wholesaling.

    From the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, Avnet diversified by branching out into car radio kits and automobile assembly kits. In World War II Avnet made antennas for the U.S. armed forces. His son, Lester Avnet, joined the business at that time.

    Avnet was incorporated in 1955. In 1956 a second connector assembly plant was opened near Los Angeles for the aircraft industry. In 1959 the company went public on the American Stock Exchange. In the mid-1960s Avnet briefly owned several record labels including Liberty Records and Blue Note. Over the next ten years, Avnet expanded with several acquisitions in the new fields of semiconductors, relays, and potentiometers. It also became a value-added distributor of IT products and the largest customer/partner of IBM.

    CEO leaders since the 1970s for Avnet have included Tony Hamilton, Leon Machiz, and Roy Vallee. Under Vallee, the company has acquired 60 companies and grew globally.

    Tony Hamilton CEO 1980-1988

    A charismatic businessman, Tony Hamilton turned his homegrown company, Hamilton Electro Sales, From a one-man operation in his garage into the largest technology distributor in the United States, the Hamilton/Avnet division of Avnet. His contemporaries created much of his success to an unmatched ability to inspire people and nurture relationships. When it came to the business of business, Hamilton was a stickler for accountability.

    ‘Tony Hamilton brought to the distribution side a degree of customer understanding and vision for the role of a distributor” – Charlie Clough former CEO Wyle Electronics.

    The company relocated its corporate headquarters to Phoenix (from Great Neck, NY) in 1998. It celebrated 50 years on the NYSE in December 2010; only 350 companies have been listed that long.

    Origin of company name

    The name Avnet is a family name that traces back to the company’s founder Charles Avnet. His two sons (Lester and Robert) continued to run the family business until 1970.

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    Charles Avnet’s granddaughter, Cindi Avnet, is the Director of Music Placement for the company

    Charles Avnet’s grandson Jon Avnet sold his shares in the family business to pursue a career in the movie industry, using those resources to produce the successful 1983 movieRisky Business, which made Tom Cruise a star.

    *Information from and and

    **Video published on YouTube by “Nicoleta Coman



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